Effects of ocean acidification on the physiological performance and carbon production of the Antarctic sea ice diatom Nitzschia sp. ICE-H

Ocean acidification (OA) resulting from increasing atmospheric CO2 strongly influences marine ecosystems, particularly in the polar ocean due to greater CO2 solubility. Here, we grew the Antarctic sea ice diatom Nitzschia sp. ICE-H in a semicontinuous culture under low (~ 400 ppm) and high (1000 ppm) CO2 levels. Elevated CO2 resulted in a stimulated physiological response including increased growth rates, chlorophyll a contents, and nitrogen and phosphorus uptake rates. Furthermore, high CO2 enhanced cellular particulate organic carbon production rates, indicating a greater shift from inorganic to organic carbon. However, the cultures grown in high CO2 conditions exhibited a decrease in both extracellular and intracellular carbonic anhydrase activity, suggesting that the carbon concentrating mechanisms of Nitzschia sp. ICE-H may be suppressed by elevated CO2. Our results revealed that OA would be beneficial to the survival of this sea ice diatom strain, with broad implications for global carbon cycles in the future ocean.

Qu C.-F., Liu F.-M., Zheng Z., Wang Y.-B., Li X.-G., Yuan H.-M., Li N., Ana M.-L., Wang X.-X., He Y.-Y., Li L.-L. & Miao J.-L., in press. Effects of ocean acidification on the physiological performance and carbon production of the Antarctic sea ice diatom Nitzschia sp. ICE-H. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Article (subscription required).

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